Archive for November, 2012

Welcome, one and all, to my first ever guest post! And I am very, very proud to have the first guest that I do. I should like to welcome one Colin. F. Barnes, the man behind the City of Hell series,  the recent Crime Net anthology which, of course, I am in with the short, Becoming Tabitha, and has an entry in the prestigious Tales of the Nun and Dragon anthology, and the captain of the good ship Anachron Press.

Colin’s latest release is the first of the Techxorcist series, Artificial Evil. And from here on in, the word, ‘Cyberpunk’ is on the tip of the virtual tongue. More on the book shortly, but first, Mr Barnes has very kindly written a post very dear to my heart. For you see, when I am not writing, a large chunk of my life is taken up with tabletop roleplaying games. Colin, a fellow gamer, neatly speaks of all of these things below! Read on:

Rise of the Cyberpunk RPG

Back in the day there were few decent Cyberpunk RPGs (I’m talking about pen and paper here). You had the two stalwarts: Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2013, but very few real stand outs.

Now, as the internet is in full-flow, and RPG fans and makers join a global community, we’re seeing a renaissance of cyberpunk RPG games, both pen-and-paper, and video-game based. Is it becoming a hot genre that game makers are looking to milk? Or is it that as we go further into the future, and out technology gets close to the games we played in the 80s and 90s, that ‘cyberpunk’ style games are now every-day life for many people?

I think the latter feeds for the former. Its an obvious task to supply an underserved and eager market, and over the last couple of years we’ve seen a small uprising of more and more games. Old favourites are getting an overhaul for the new age, and new games are breaking through to the consciousness.

Another new element to this rise of the cyberpunk RPG is the home-brew and Creative Commons crowd. More and more material is created by the fans for the fans. With the tools available now, and the interconnected networks, it’s becoming easier to share rulesets and adventures, and invite people to add to these worlds.

One of the new internet-based phenomena that cyberpunk RPGs have benefitted from is Kickstarter (A website designed to allow fans to help fund a project). Through this community funding process, Shadowrun have raised money to make not just a new tabletop game, but a couple of video games. If you search Kickstarter, you’ll also find a handful of new and exciting cyberpunk properties such as:

Lodus: A cyberpunk Co-op Action RPG

Psi-punk and cyberpunk and psionic RPG

Shadowrun Online

Punktown: A cyberpunk addition to Call of Cthulhu

And many more.

On the video game side, Cyberpunk 2020 is getting a shiny new game.

So why not check one of these great games out and relive that fun of the gritty cyberpunk worlds from the 80s and 90s, updated for a modern society.

Colin F. Barnes is a writer of dark and daring fiction. He takes his influence from everyday life, and the weird happenings that go on in the shadowy locales of Essex in the UK.

Growing up, Colin was always obsessed with story and often wrote short stories based on various dubious 80s and 90s TV shows. Despite taking a detour in school into the arts and graphic design, he always maintained his love of fiction and general geekery. Now, as a slightly weathered adult, Colin draws on his experiences to blend genres and create edgy, but entertaining stories.

He is currently working on a Cyberpunk/Techno thriller serial ‘The Techxorcist.’ which combines elements of Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Horror.

Like many writers, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, with his favourite authors being: Stephen King, William Gibson, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Albert Camus,  H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith,  and a vast array of unknown authors who he has had the privilege of beta reading for.



Three hackers. A deadly plot. One chance to save humanity.

In the tradition of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Richard Morgan, British writer Colin F. Barnes delivers a cyberpunk tech thriller for the modern age.

 2153. Post-cataclysm. The last city exists beneath a dome where the mysterious benefactors ‘The Family’ tightly control the population with a death lottery and a semi-autonomous network.

 All is well until the day family man Gerry Cardle, head of the death lottery, inexplicably finds himself the no.1 target of a malicious Artificial Intelligence. Gerry’s numbers are up, and he has just 7 days to save himself,  find the source of the AI, and keep the last stronghold of humanity safe.

 Gerry finds help in the shadows of the city from two rogue hackers: Petal – a teenage girl with a penchant for violence, hacking systems and general anarchy, and: Gabriel – a burnt-out programmer-turned-priest with highly augmented cybernetics.

 With his new team, Gerry discovers there is more beyond the dome than The Family had let on, and his journey to find the source of the AI leads him through a world of violence, danger, and startling revelations.

Everything is not as it seems.

Gerry is not who he thinks he is.

Evil can be coded…. can Gerry and his friends stop it before it destroys humanity?

Artificial Evil is book 1 of 3 of The Techxorcist series. The larger-than-life offspring of Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Exorcist.

Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist is available as a paperback and ebook from:


Anachron Press:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:



Anachron Press:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:



Print book $10.99 (6.99)

Ebook $4.99 (£3.20)

Thank you very much, Colin. It’s been great fun hosting. I’m very much looking forward to checking out this series in full.

The Next Big Thing

Posted: November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

I managed to get tagged twice this week by David Lascelles and by Maria Roberts. So I’ve done the sensible thing and merged both together, giving me an extra couple of questions but a blog post which asks more questions about my current Work In Progress. To find out more, and whether I’ve tagged you, read on!

Here are the rules:
1) Answer the questions.

2) Tag 5 other writers, providing the links.

3) Let the writer’s know you tagged them.

Okay, I shall tag people very shortly, but first, the post!
What is the working title of your book?
Oblivion Storm. That’s the actual title! It is out on December 12.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Several places, kind of. I cite the ‘Piano Man’ news story as one of the chief influences early on, though later drafts have gone kind of away from that. The Victorian aspect of the tale kind of crept up on me, as I’ve never been a major reader of works from the era. Rose, Tally and Kara began life as a cameo in my university final project. They’ve come a long way in that time.

What genre does your book fall under?
I mostly say Urban Fantasy from my ease of answering, but my Editor-in-Chief called it a ‘paranormal thriller’. Which I like.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Here’s a few, starting with the modern day main cast first, I think:

Rose: perhaps Shirley Manson was who I first had in my head. Potentially Michelle Ryan.

Kara: physically, Janina Gavankar or Meghan Markle. I actually have a very good model for Kara on the banner of this blog though (made by Nicolene Lorette Designs.) British actresses? Angel Coulby from Merlin would do great, I think.

Jennifer: Her namesake, Jennifer Lawrence, would have to be a serious consideration. She is a solid choice in my head.

Thomas: Hmm. Might be tempted to see if Tom Hardy’s free.

Violet: Would need someone tall and suitably able to carry off unhinged. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has the ideal look but I’ve only got Transformers: Dark of the Moon as acting evidence.

Tally: The star of the Victorian show. Would require a young actress with a lot of gravitas. Anne Hathaway could be cool. Lauren Cohan maybe?

Lady Raine: An unrestrained Katie McGrath could roll with this part. Keira Knightley perhaps? No, Eva Green. She’d rock this part.

Lord Grenshall: Charles Dance would be awesome. He always is.

Lady Grenshall: Obvious choice for me is Alex Kingston.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Someone tries to kill woman who subsequently loses her memory; is sent to find a necklace which threatens London with an undead menace.
Best I can do in a sentence given we are in two time periods really!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Xchyler Publishing are publishing my book for me; a US-based company well-versed with the modern world of publishing. I’ve got a cracking editorial team to work with who have helped lots in recent months.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I must have started this about 6 years ago now. It was after I left uni, I know that much. I will have been a good two years on getting to the end, probably. Then there are the rewrites. . .

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven’t had much time to read for a while. I’m also rubbish at comparing my work to that of others! Er. . .
No, sorry, shall have to get back to you.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I had written a final project for my M.A and the whole point of doing the course was to force myself to finish a novel. This was before I was ever aware of NaNoWriMo! Bare bones of some of the characters made a cameo in that and I said, maybe a year after, ‘Right. Let’s see whether I can write one for myself now!’ So here we are.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? How about a teaser?
I’ve had to check out some very strange facts whilst writing this. But for now, I’ll just go with, ‘one of the characters above does not have their real name. I will be putting teasers out in coming weeks, but only once they’ve been signed off by my editorial team. Check back regularly for more news!

My five tagged writers are:
. . .to be announced when I’ve heard back from them all!

Crime Net is out!

Posted: November 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you’d have told me I would have TWO things published at the beginning of this year, I would possibly have laughed in your face. And yet, it’s true! I’m gearing up for the release of Oblivion Storm next month, and can’t tell you how excited I am by this.

I’m double excited though. See, writing a short story scares the hell out of me. I find them incredibly challenging. So to have one in print now and out is something special. Anyway, here’s the info:

Technology Isn’t Always Used With Good Intentions

Crime Net is a collection of stories that delve into the nefarious side of cyberpunk and tech-thriller fiction. In a modern society, filled with affordable technology and always-on networks, some electric dreams aren’t always what we expect.

Featuring stories from four talented authors, we get inside the head of a man heading for rock-bottom until a too-good-to-be-true job opportunity comes his way; watch a devoted fan get a little too close to her idol; see what happens when gene splicing technology falls into the wrong hands, and experience a driven woman’s mission to kill in the underworld of a futuristic city.

Get Jacked In Now For A Cyber Thrill Ride

Stories by:

Nicholas P. Oakley

R.A. Smith

T.F. Grant

Vivian Caethe

And featuring a bonus novella from Colin F. Barnes:

Rebirth: The Techxorcist Part 0.5

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


I can’t wait for my copy to turn up so I can read all the other stories. And The Techxorcist is something you should definitely check out.

Stay tuned – this month is going to be a busy one!